Where do I start? We booked to go to Tunisia. The booking of it was easy; we looked at a named hotel in Sousse and Skanes
but were advised by our travel agent that going AOA would be cheaper, and the same quality or higher.
So we opted for Skanes which we thought was the best place to stay as there were not any AOA in Monastir. We asked for single beds as there was a group of us going ages ranging from 68 to 13 years old.
When we arrived at Monastir airport and found the rep she
told us to get on the 39 bus, I pointed out that we had not requested transfer, but were told to just go there anyway. so we pushed our trolleys over to the bus, only to be met by the transfer rep who told us to get a taxi (which we had just passed) and gave our trolley to another man to take us to the taxis, only to be told once we got to them that he wanted £5 for pushing the trolley and got cross because we would not
give him it as we said we didn't have any GBP, and gave him 2 euros.
We needed 2 taxis as there were 5 of us, and were charged 15 euros, which should not have cost more than 5 Dinars.
so remember to set a price before you get in the taxi ( hard to
remember at 2am I know).
We booked into the Garden Beach Hotel, and had a long 15 min walk to our rooms with the entire luggage, only to find that we had been given double bed rooms.
The next morning we went to see when the welcome meeting was so we could speak to the rep about the rooms, as the A/c didn't work in one of them. The notice board said it was at 1.30pm, when we arrived to see the rep, we found out that the welcome meeting was in fact that morning and we had missed it.
We had to wait our turn to speak to him as 3 groups in front of us
which had arrived the night before, were transferring to another hotel as they were not happy with this one. when I did finally get to talk to the rep, I pointed out that H&S regulations were not met, he comment was that it was a 3rd world country and what did you expect, I pointed out that he was working for a British firm and under British law all accommodation has to meet British H&S regs. so I then asked when did he do a
property check which have to be carried out at the start of each season, he didn't answer, so I then asked when did he last check the rooms, he said that they can not check all of them and only do some hotels, I pointed out that under holiday rep regulations that all hotel rooms and hotels have to have a complete check before allowing anyone to stay
there. he really didn't care, and then told us that we would have to pay a cancellation fee of 60 Dinars per person for 3 nights before we can transfer to another hotel and that we would have to also pay a transfer fee ( non of which was pointed out to us by our booking agent, in fact we were told we would have a free change if we were not happy) and he then went on to say well you get what you pay for and that this was the
only AOA hotel that is used in Skanes ( this in its self breaks
the holiday contract as AOA can not be just one hotel).
This turned out to be just the start of our problems, we booked for 3 trips, which as it turns out our names were not down for a single one and we had to miss out the one trip we were all looking forward too.
When I spoke to the head rep Claire, she first said sorry and nothing they can do, I pointed out that they had our money and we had a ticket and that they were responsible. We had already checked with the rep about the other trips and asked him to check that our names were down for this trip and he assured us we were and if there were any problems then
the company would supply a taxi, she said she would phone back in 10 mins. 20 mins later she then said she would sort out a mini bus for us and give us a full refund, and were there any other problems, we listed them all, from the metal ladder braking and my son hurting himself, to the rotten wood on the balcony, electrical wires not covered, A/c not working, wire holding the banister together, luke warm food and stall bread, to no marking on ANY of the patio door windows, again she really
didn't seam to care until we said we had taken pics of all the
problems. We were then told that we would only be getting 1/2 our money back and hung up, it is surprising how long it can take to sort out one mini bus, in fact we were in reception for 2 hours, as the phones in our rooms didn't work. So yet another day lost.
When we were picked up at 2pm, we were first taken to Monastir to pick up a tour guide, who then told us that there are 60,000,000 olive trees in Tunisia and went to sleep for the next 11/5 hours, woke up with a nudge from out driver when we got to El Gem, he then walked us in and talked for 5 mins and said pic you up in an hour, do not be late. He did not tell us anything we had not already read in the tour book, and because it was not the hottest part of the day and we were inland, we could not stay out for more than 15 mins in the 54C heat, so went and got a
drink, the very nice cafe guy told us far more than the guide ever did.
We were back at the meeting point at the allotted time, and in fact
waited there for nearly 30 mins for our transport to turn up, he
apologised but had a phone call from the company, while yawning at us, when we went to get in the back of the van, the back seats were down and had made a double bed (strange phone call if you ask me).
Due to the amount of problems we had we were never able to leave the hotel for more than half a day, as we had to pack and unpack 3 times but never moved room in the end, and waiting to see the rep.
we all like Arabic food and were very disappointed that we only got Tunisian food on one day, but there again not one meal was the food hot, luke warm at best and stall bread with every meal, the kids did not eat a single meal we had paid for as part out our H/B package for the first 3 days, and the sandwiches from the cafe bar well they were so fresh you could have used the bread to hammer in a nail ( hummm maybe that would have been a good idea!).Anyone for frozen parsnips and BRAINS, Spag bol with Offal but to name a few, oh and the dessert, well what can I say other than it was water melon EVERY single day oh and oranges, yep that was it.
TAXIS please be aware that even with meters on in the taxis, you can still end up with very different prices for the same trips, it cost me 7 Dinars to go from the hotel to Sousse, but my mother paid 15 Dinars even with the meters on, so what I would suggest is that you find out from out hotel how much it should cost, and then agree that price with the taxi before you get in, as on one occasion the taxi did not start at the day rate of 350, but put it on triple, luckily we spotted just as we set off, and told him to stop, he asked what was wrong and we pointed out the cost was wrong, he then agreed to the 7 Dinars we paid to get there
was right and we could have the same, but when we got to the hotel he once again tried to rip us off, so i said you get the 7 Dinars agreed and no more, and got out the taxi.
One helpful point for any young ladies going over, do not have a henna tattoo done with your name under it, as the attention you will get from the men, is bad enough with out displaying your name, then they all say they are your friend and want pics etc. my daughter covered hers with a plaster in the end because she got so fed up with being pestered.
I would NOT recommend this hotel to anyone,
the staff over all were nice (unless you had a run in with the mangers wife which I did or the head bar man who pestered me all week for a kiss and asked if we could have sex on the beach, No i didnt to both before anyone asks)at the hotel, but the hotel is an accident waiting to happen, as we found out our self, with metal pool ladder braking, slippery floors, which I did point out to the rep, and then fell down a load of steps and damaged my ribs and back, but was not offered any help from the staff on duty.
i would honestly say i would never stay at this hotel again, never mind there were only 25 english people in the hotel, and the French just didnt like to have a good time with the kids in the evening, and normally gave us lots of dirty looks when doing the "Music man".
- Also Known As:
- Skanes Garden Tunisia/Monastir